It's a rare week when my daughter's lunchbox doesn't contain Ants on a Log—the snack of celery and peanut butter (sometimes almond butter, in our case) dotted with raisins. So, when I heard that Row 14's chef Jensen Cummings was serving a dessert inspired by the childhood classic, I had to check it out.
The dish (a collaboration between Cummings and pastry chef Jennifer Helmore) is certainly more up-market than what appears in my daughter's lunch: There's delicate celery semifreddo on top of a terrific peanut butter cookie. There's a streak of lusty port-raisin sauce. There's a small pile of "trail mix," with chewy, dehydrated celery, raisins, peanuts all tossed in white chocolate.
"It's kinda geeky and slightly savory, but we like it," Cummings says. I do too, even though I think the dish skews a bit to sweet. (I'd also like to see more celery come through in the semifreddo.) While the duo continues to fine-tune the balance, I appreciate that they're playing with unusual flavors and textures—and having some fun. I'll go back and try the dessert again, maybe with my daughter.
891 14th St., 303-825-0100